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The NYC Nomad on 14th between B & C (in the East Village)

My third trip (if you include Alphabet City) to the East Village started with one of the more unpleasant moves of this project.  I was deceived by both apartments being on the East Side (but each quite far from the subway) and the cold was brutal.  It was a short week (Sat - Thurs, as I ditched the aerobed for some skiing in Park City, Utah).

I’m writing a bit more, and here is something I wrote about that Sunday move.

Moving is never that fun, but I didn’t think it would be so bad this week.   The move was from the Upper East Side to the East Village – unlike last week, I was staying in the same borough.  I, however, was deluded by the word East in each neighborhood’s name.  It was a brutal move, one of my worst yet.  I stubbornly insist on taking the Subway whenever I shift neighborhoods.  I like the looks on people’s faces and the comments people often make about my collection of bags and the tennis racket sticking out of my backpack like a halo.  But today it was cold.  And I mean really cold.  Each host lived a good 10 minute walk from the subway so I got to fully experience the numbness from losing my gloves the week before.   The subway was really busy –I couldn’t sit down or even take my bag off.  Usually people are intrigued, but today they were annoyed.

The destination was the East Village to live with Donald for 4 days, a friend of a former co-worker.  I knew him a little bit.  I arrived and as is often the case, when I get there I’m excited.  Donald opened the door, and exclaimed “the Nomad.”  He took a picture.  I was sweating, which seemed impossible in the frigid cold, but completely logical after I realized I had just hiked up 5 flights of stairs.  I’ve gotten into the bad habit of making assumptions about apartment numbers.  Donald’s was 19 which I thought meant he was on the 1st floor, maybe the second.  No, he was at the top.

Don immediately explained to me an architect is the owner and he really maximized the space.  The requisite over sized flat screen TV for a 30 year old single guy was there, and there was a nice kitchen.  I didn’t care what the place looked like as long as I could get my backpack off.  I put my stuff down, strategized a place where the Aerobed would fit and asked to take a shower.  


With Donald, a friend of a former coworker.  It was fun to hang out with Don.  He seemed to have a genuine interest in my project and some of the experiences I’ve had.  I gave him some recommendations of the best restaurants and books I’ve come across in my travels.  He plays the guitar quite well, and supposedly may write a nomad song (I’ve been promised this before from others as a testimonial).


Cafe Pick Me Up - This has to be one of the cheapest breakfasts in Manhattan at $5 for Eggs, Toast, potatoes and a little salad. And good coffee, too.

Mercadito Cantina - Sadly this place is closing.  Kind of surprising given the food is expensive, but it is reopening as an event space.  EV Grieve has more if you are interested in community boards and why the restaurant is closing.  

Chicken - Don is a cook and he cooked for his friends one night.  I came back and had a taste and it was excellent.  

Stuffed Cannolis (the Italian in me says cannolis shouldn’t be flavored, but these changed my mind).  I brought some to a party and I think most would agree.

Whitman’s - The Juicy Lucy is a burger with oozing pimento cheese in the middle of the burger.  The cheese is sandwiched between two 3oz patties and the patties are sandwiched between hamburger buns.  It was delicious, but next time I go I’ll try the Peanut Butter and Bacon Burger.  They have milk and warm cookies for dessert.  We used a Scoutmob deal which is fast becoming my favorite deal service.  I like their copy - “mobiled deals for the local curious.”  


at Ace Bar, with some of Don’s friends to play pool and drink cheap beer.

Tom & Jerry - not really the EV, but we went to a friend’s birthday party here.  I think Don even got a date out of it.  See, hosting the nomad has its perks!

St. Dymphas - GREAT spot - NY Mag gave it a 10 of 10 ; went here after Whitman’s on I think the coldest night of the year.  Warm and cozy, with a band that decided to play a third set.  I met a couple of Don’s friends, one of whom is quite the brewer of beer.  I’m hoping to get to sample a bottle when I stay in Bushwick.

Great week!  Always is in the East Village.  Check out the nabe list and if you don’t see your neighborhood on the list (and even if you do), email me to host!

5 Notes

Guest Post: An Offer to Stay in an Old Squat Building in the East Village

I’ve had some pretty unique offers since getting some press in the New York Times and being interviewed on Leonard Lopate.  Below is one of the more unique offers for a week I’m planning to spend in April in an old squat building in the East Village. Lisa agreed to let me repost her email on my blog.  And for those with the motherly instinct, the serial killer reference is to the Lopate interview.

Hi Ed -  

Heard you this morning on Lopate; I am sure you’re now being inundated with emails. I see on your calendar you’re booked for some months, and that you have an East Village gig soon, but if you ever want to stay in the nabe again I would be honored to host you.

I live in a double apartment in a circa 1885 building; it had been abandoned for 10 years when I moved into it with a few other people 30 years ago, so we squatted it, rehabbed it and bought it from the city in the late ’80s. I got to live here without running water (showered in the fire hydrant across the street), electricity (candles), toilets (large cans from the garbge), windows, a front door - but it did have three shooting galleries. You would have all the creature comforts (including a room to yourself, pillows and a set of keys). Only stricture is, you would have to be okay with cats, since I have three of them. But none have the killer instinct. Maybe the “Hey, let’s sleep with that strange guy!” instinct, but… So if it’s ever been your dream to spend a little time in an old squat, this would be your chance.

I was struck by your living in Armenia; my late husband was half Armenian (mom is Zabel Torigian), and it was always his dream for us to go there so he could explore part of his ethnic heritage. Only sorry we never made it; he just ran out of time. But we did plenty of voyaging - our honeymoon was spent in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, way back in 1993 before those countries were even on the tourist radar; we loved Cambodia so much that when we went to Hong Kong and Macao in ‘97 for the handover we went back to Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat as well. We also spent time in Europe, of course, as well as Jordan, Iran, and some other strange places. Would love to hear firsthand about your travels and could tell you some swell stories myself (ask me someday about my being attacked by bats in the second level of the Cu Chi Tunnels outside of Saigon).

I promise I’m not a serial killer; you can Google my name and read about me. My husband was Steven Vincent; you can Google his name and read about him as well.

Well I’ve taken up enough of your time; hope to hear from you someday in the affirmative, but if not, I wish you enjoyable journeys, meeting with interesting people, and always, safe harbors to return to. Take care, be well.

And - I miss summer, too.

7 Notes

The NYC Nomad in Alphabet City (on 9th and c)


With Mike and Pete.  Mike is a co-worker at and shares my feeling of less is more with regard to stuff.  Pete is foreign currency trader by day and an 80’s pop star by night.  Check out his new album here and follow him on Twitter here, and read his blog here


Awesome food, pretty much everywhere I went.  Some highlights:

Esperanto - Brazilian food.  Mike and I went there on Monday night for the prix fixe menu ($20) and half off bottle of wine.  $12 for a halfway decent bottle of wine?  I asked him if I was still in Manhattan.

Barnyard - Mike was a great host and recommended some spots for me while he was away for the weekend.  Barnyard was one of those spots.  An expensive, albeit delicious breakfast sandwich.  I also had turmeric juice which just tastes healthy. 

Kafana - Pete, Mike and I had the nomad sponsored dinner here and it was really great.  INCREDIBLE cow’s milk feta cheese and a great selection of meats.  It’s relatively new, and neither of my hosts had been there, which always makes for a fun outing.  I had never eaten at Serbian restaurant (or had Serbian beer) before.

Wacky Wok - This is the go to take-out spot.  Pick your noodles, pick your vegetables and protein and pick your sauce.  It’s guilt free takeout as the packaging is all eco-friendly.  What’s even nicer is that they are not in your face about how “green” they are.  It’s kind of obvious from the moment you walk in the place.  There is a hippyish guy who runs the shop and like most of Alphabet city, it was just a chill place.

Caracas Arepa Bar - I finally went here after 3 previous unsuccessful attempts. There had always been over an hour long wait so when it was 30 minutes I jumped at the chance.  I am definitely a fan and would go back, but I wouldn’t wait an hour for it.  I’m of the belief that the block on 7th street between 1st and A has the best food in all of Manhattan.  Anyone have a better block?

Also had my first cupcake at Butter Lane.  You pick your cupcake and icing and its pretty fun.  I had Banana with Peanut Butter.


Lots of nice people at the 9th street community garden and park.  I’m writing a whole post about it so stay tuned.  There are an abundance of community gardens in Alphabet city.


I had the apartment mostly to myself over the weekend.  I didn’t leave the neighborhood until Sunday and stayed in Friday and Saturday night.  I hadn’t done that in a long time and it was exactly what I needed.  I enjoyed coffee at 9th street espresso which was described to me as mecca for coffee drinkers.  I also waited for the cable guy on Saturday afternoon and scored my hosts some free cable.  Sound good?  Send me an Email!


One of the most insane performances I’ve ever seen.  This guy used to play basketball for Villanova.

Here’s a picture:


Duke’s - Duke’s is a cool spot with a dartboard in the back.  They had to take down their sign because the Duke’s restaurants in NYC were complaining about copyright.  I think that is pretty lame.

B side - It’s a cool spot with a foosball table and cheap beer

Banjo Jim’s - What a bar is supposed to be in my opinion.  Great music and a really fun crowd with $3 Tecates and $4 Dale’s Pale Ale.  Banjo’s is right below where I was staying and I can’t believe I only made it there one night.


Runners high happens about every 5 years for me, but I had it within 10 minutes of starting my run along the East River.  It was an incredible day and the five fingered shoes might have had something to do with it.  I also returned to the outdoor gym on 6th street where I always seem to meet someone interesting (this time a chef in the Financial District).

If you couldn’t tell from the length of this post, I LOVED Alphabet City!

What did I miss? Email me.

1 Notes

44 plays

An east village audio post.  Click to play above.

This was a New York moment for me.  I happened upon a community garden in the East Village, walked in, and started chatting with some of the members who aren’t exactly what you think of when you think of gardeners.  I think it is worth 7 minutes.  

To set the stage a little bit, there are about 5 guys and myself mainly discussing one of the members’ pet lizard while adding in some commentary on some of the more successful animated television series over the past 25 years.  They were drinking PBR on a nice summer evening.

The garden itself is beautiful and has an incredible range of edible food, fresh herbs and spices.  There is about a 20 year waiting list for a plot.

2 Notes

The NYC Nomad in the East Village (on 13th between A and B)


With Matt, a high school friend of my good friend Dave from Tufts.  I had never met Matt before arriving at his doorstep on Sunday evening.  He’s an interesting guy who knows something about the world and has traveled to Iraq and Brazil in the past couple of years.  He also did his graduate school work in Paris and happens to have a great library.  He was away for the weekend, and quite busy during the week, but we were able to grab dinner a few nights and I met some of his friends during my stay.

The apartment’s location is fantastic.  I had a commute where I could walk which is something I realize I value more and more.  The proximity to incredible restaurants certainly doesn’t hurt and East River park is a great place to run.

There is an energy in the East Village unlike any other neighborhood I’ve stayed in thus far. 


I’m transferring all my reviews to Yelp lists like this one about the East Village, but I will continue to give a quick write up on my favorite couple of restaurants from each ‘hood.  People have told me they don’t want the blog to become my version of Zagat.  I can’t promise I won’t write about food, but I’ll try to write less.

Zaragoza - Great late night spot in a little Mexican bodega.  I sat there and had my taco and a little old mexican lady decided that I needed to taste the avocado she had.  A bunch of Mexican guys were hanging out drinking Tecate.  The owner told me they had been there for 10 years, but not a lot of people know they have hot food.  Now you do, so go check it out.

Luke’s Lobster - This place gives my all time favorite lobster roll at Lazy Lobster in Chatham, Cape Cod a run for its money.  I’m still in shock that you can get a lobster roll for $16 in New York City, but that is the deal at this little spot.  Just won an award — here’s more on the Lobster Roll scene in NYC at the moment.


A guy from California at a bar across the street (Heather’s) that Matt had never been to.  Part of this idea is to get out of my comfort zone/routine as much as possible so I went by myself on my way home one night.  I ended up talking to a  guy and his family (he was visiting his niece who bartends).  I told him the idea and gave him a card.  The next thing I knew he was saying things like “Hot damn!  I’m here with the NYC Nomad.”  Then he bought me a shot of tequila, and then I decided it was probably time to go home.


At Mendez Boxing gym.  In the spirit of trying new things, I signed up for 3 boxing classes at this gym near work.  I had my own personal trainer for about an hour and was reminded of the fact that there is no substitute for someone kicking your ass.  I couldn’t understand much beyond “entonces” and “bueno” but I was extremely sore the next day so I guess I didn’t have to.


Films at the New York Food and Film Festival on Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City.  If you click on one link in this post, click on this 13 minute short about a store called soda pop stop in Los Angeles.  They were sampling things like Lemongrass, Cucumber, and Espresso soda.  There were also samples from Fatty Cue, which is a place I’m really excited to try.  I’ll probably get to next week when I am staying in Williamsburg.

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